ELLENSBURG — Dick and Jane’s Spot in Ellensburg gives new meaning to the term “public art.”
For more than 27 years, artists Jane Orleman and Dick Elliott gave a unique and whimsical art treatment to the outside of their home on North Pearl Street. It’s a collection of art by some 40 artists and a way to display some of their own work.
Some features: More than 10,000 bottle caps and thousands of reflectors, the art form Dick used to famously craft the band of color atop the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Jane remembered her late husband’s attraction to reflector art in a 2009 interview with the Yakima Herald-Republic.
“He talked about this epiphany as feeling the breath and pulse of the earth as he was drawing and realizing he couldn’t match that in graphite,” she said. “He was looking for another way to catch this energy, the fundamental patterns of energy.”
Elliott would use bicycle-style reflectors to create large-scale patterns to evoke the past and the future. The art would be grounded in what he called “fundamental expressions of energy” even as it moved and changed based on light and perspective.
Reflector art consumed the last 25 years of his life and, by the time he died in November 2008 at age 63, it had become his trademark. In addition to the SunDome, the art can be seen wrapping water towers outside of Pateros and greeting visitors at Sea-Tac Airport.
It’s also at the St. Louis light rail system and at a train station in Charlotte, N.C.
But there’s more than reflector art at Dick and Jane’s Spot in Ellensburg, which has been featured on travel shows and in books and magazines about offbeat places, including “Weird Washington.”
Jane still welcomes outside visitors. She asks that you respect the fences because it is, after all, her private dwelling. You can see all of it from the street.
The home will be part of Art About, the Gallery One tour of artists’ homes and studios this June, so people who want to see inside the house can do it then.
She also says she got some grant funding from the Ellensburg Arts Commission last year to revitalize pieces of the art around the exterior of the house.
“I wouldn’t say ‘restore,’ because it’s not going to be the same,” she said. “We’re revitalizing it. It’s kind of putting new life into the whole experience.”
• Reporter Pat Muir contributed to this story, which also incorporates material from the Yakima Herald-Republic archives.